Hospital Losses, Cuts at St. Vincent & More in Arkansas Business

A quick glance at selected stories from this week’s Arkansas Business:

A $70 million loss at Baptist Health means bond trouble for the health system, the latest in a string of bad news. Still, expansion!

Meanwhile, at St. Vincent, the hospital’s CEO moves forward on a plan to cut 200 positions by June.

Onward and upward! Chris Roberts, founding CEO of Little Rock’s Centennial Bank, has joined Little Rock’s Delta Trust & Bank as president.

More with Pulitzer Prize-winning Arkansas native Douglas Blackmon, who talks to Mark Hengel.

Gwen Moritz on ANB Financial: “Irresponsible borrowers and irresponsible lenders do have a way of finding each other.”

Jim Karrh wraps up his two-parter on e-mail marketing. Tactics and tips to make it sing for your business.

Brave New Restaurant: Still tasty!

The raging wet-dry alcohol issue in Arkadelphia has virtually paralyzed the Daily Siftings-Herald, which has almost stopped covering the debate altogether! God bless newspapers. You’re gonna miss ’em when they’re gone.

Friday Week in Review: Another Week Down the Drain

In Star City

In Star City

A weekly wrap-up of stuff that happened this week, presented weekly. On a regular basis.

Rep. Steve Harrelson liveblogged the NCSL conference, taking place in D.C. Capsearch was there, too, Twittering.

Tyson Foods’ Ed Nicholson worked on his presentation for the BlogWell conference in New York. Before his presentation next week, he talked social media and hunger relief with SmartBlog.

Doug Krile had advice for start-ups. Why spend all that cash on software, when there’s much available free on the Web?

Blogfight!’s Philip Seaton strikes back at Jeffrey Slatton, a sports writer for “a local newspaper,” over The Alotian.

Speaking of golf, Arnold Palmer was in town. Jim Harris shot video.

Blake, between soliciting Arkansas photos for his new blog feature and contemplating Facebook, showed us column from Paul Greenberg, and we liked it!

The Arkansas Project published the mother of all top 10 lists, which many are still talking about and the consequences of which might not be fully understood for decades.

Zack Stovall considered Gawker, Perez Hilton and Politico 44 and wonders whether this has all just gone too far.

Ms. Adverthinker loved Blake’s shoes.

We drove to Monticello, made a speech and took in the sights in southeast Arkansas. Also: More radio, this time with Neal Gladner in Hot Springs.


A big birthday

Top Chef in the Rock

Going shoeless at Historic Arkansas Museum

Media Notes: Job Cuts at the Morning News, A Voice Silenced & More

Final edition. (Photo from KTHV)

Final edition. (Photo from KTHV)

Media news from around Arkansas and the nation:

Mourning News – Twitterer Chris Spencer is among nine newsroom staffers at Stephens Media Group’s Morning News to be laid off this week. The newspaper is also implementing a limited furlough program for employees, combining several sections of the newspaper during the week and cutting costs in other ways. Spencer is keeping a chin up, according to his Twitter account. The Arkansas Times has the full memo from management detailing the changes. The Morning News posts its own story on the changes here.

A Voice in the Dark – In other Stephens Media Group news, the company decides to suspend publication of the Saline County’s The Voice newspaper. KTHV’s report is here. Publisher Dennis Byrd tells the TV station that “This was strictly because this newspaper was so young and it was in a competitive market and we knew that going in.” The Voice started under Stephens in 2007. The Benton Courier, The Voice’s competition, remains in business. Byrd says The Voice could re-open if the economy improves.

Deadlines Are Important to NewspapersThe New York Times Co. is sticking to its May 1 deadline to get millions in concessions from union workers at The Boston Globe. If it doesn’t get what it wants, it might close the paper.

Worse – McClatchy, which owners newspapers including the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Miami Herald, sees its losses deepen in the first quarter.

Off the Air, Out of a Job – National Public Radio lays off 13 and begins a furlough program of its own. And “Day 2 Day” is still canceled. Sigh.

Unfriending – Yahoo! is pulling the plug on the MySpace-before-there-was-MySpace, GeoCities. The death knell for the animated .gif industry?

Tina Sells Out – Tina Brown’s HuffPo wannabe The Daily Beast finally starts selling advertising. Paying the bills is important.

Ed Nicholson of Tyson Foods Talks Social Media Before BlogWell Conference

Tyson Twitters

Tyson Twitters

I signed on with Twitter waaay back in March 2007. Back then, the Arkansas Twittersphere was a sleepy little town of early adopters who — let’s be honest, folks — really didn’t know what the heck they were getting into.

But more Arkansas Tweeters arrived. And among the first “big” local entities I noticed aggressively using Twitter was Tyson Foods, the meat processing giant headquartered in Springdale. And the man behind that effort was — and remains — Ed Nicholson, Tyson’s director of community and public relations.

Nicholson had been using blogs to further Tyson’s hunger-relief goals nationwide, and Twitter was another tool he decided to put in his media toolkit. Today, Tyson Foods’ Twitter account is a crucial rallying point for the publicly traded firm’s food donation efforts throughout the country.

Next week, Nicholson is among the speakers at the BlogWell conference in New York, which will be attended by some of the nation’s biggest companies. At BlogWell, they’ll talk social media by sharing best practices and examining case studies. Nicholson is scheduled to be one of the speakers.

Earlier this week, Nicholson spoke to SmartBlog about his social media efforts and shared some advice for other groups looking to dip a toe in the water to promote philanthropic goals:

First off, get to know the media.  Participate and engage yourself; don’t depend on your agency to do it all for you. If you want to be perceived as a thought leader within philanthropic issues, you can’t do it by proxy. Don’t assume the community is going to come to you. Sometimes you have to be the one who initiates the connections and the conversation.

Social media tools should be used in the context of well-constructed overall communications strategy. Use your communications resources to add value, not simply to broadcast your key messages. Talk about the issue or challenge. Point the spotlight to people outside your company who are doing great work. You’ll look better in reflected light.

Much more with Nicholson here.

And you can follow Nicholson/Tyson Foods on Twitter here.

A Nice Day at the University of Arkansas at Monticello

The music hall at UA Monticello

The music hall at UA Monticello

It was a great day to take a drive to southeast Arkansas and speak to journalism students attending the Arkansas College Media Advisors conference at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Thanks to Dr. Ronald Sitton at the School of Arts and Humanities for inviting me to talk about print and broadcasting journalism and how it’s all coming together on the Web.

Also on the day’s roster: Kelly Kissel, new editor for the Associated Press in Arkansas, who talked about breaking news online; Arkansas Free Press editor and publisher Dotty Oliver, who talked desktop publishing and multimedia; activist and former gubernatorial candidate Rod Bryan, who spoke on covering and influencing state government via his various Web initiatives, including the Arkansas Conservation Alliance and; and news photographer Liberty Parks (a former Arkansas Business intern), who talked about photography in a wired world.

And there was much more — too much, in fact, to list here. Hopefully, students got a sense of the possibilities that exist in journalism, despite all the gloom and doom of layoffs, newspaper cutbacks and closings and general uncertainty about the future of what we do.


Star City

Tweets from the road

Hello, Monticello Twitter Geeks!

Apparently, I wasn’t the only traveling

Speaking on Broadcast Convergence at the Arkansas College Media Advisors Conference



Blogging will be light today as I head to beautiful Monticello to speak about broadcast convergence and journalism at the Arkansas College Media Advisors conference at UAM.

Having never been to UAM, I’m looking forward to it. And, while I’m not the greatest presenter in the world, it’s always fun to speak to a room full of students who’ll soon be “boots on the ground” in remaking how journalism is done as the industry continues to work through its myriad changes and challenges.

It might be tough out there right now, but I remain positive about the new opportunities all this upheaval will leave in its wake.

Check back for my notes and handouts from today’s presentation.

The Arkansas Project: Arkansans Who Should NOT Blog:

Would-be bloggers beware

Would-be bloggers beware

Last week, we unveiled (what turned out to be the first draft of) a list of 10 Arkansans Who Should Be Blogging (SBB). We received lots of comments, many of which pointing out how flawed our list was! Still, most made thoughtful suggestions about who was left off the list and who very definitely should be included.

Good News! We plan to reboot that list later this week based on that feedback.

But meanwhile, David Kinkade at The Arkansas Project (whose Photoshop skills grow more formidable day by day) has helpfully compiled the anti-SBB list, a complete guide to folks who absolutely and under no circumstances ever should ever be blogging at all ever and in any amount, none. Period.

Fortunately, we’re not on the list. But if he decides to reboot, we might very well in trouble.

See The Arkansas Project’s full list here.